Serpentine belts are one of those odd components that just help everything else inside the vehicle hang together and just work by helping everything else become synchronized. The serpentine drive belt connects a huge variety of components of the vehicle – water pump, air pump, A/C compressor, power steering pump and the alternator.

Before these handy drive belts were created, car makers utilized a much thinner belt to tie the different parts of the vehicle together, with limited success. The invention of a way to use one sturdy belt instead of several smaller belts helped the engine withstand the daily pressures of driving without having ongoing difficulties. A key problem that nearly all belts have is stretching so far that the belt will no longer retain its shape or strength.

Be aware and follow these simple tips to ensure which serpentine belt is right for your vehicle:

  • Look over online offerings carefully: Buying online can be tricky – scrutinize the product offering since you won’t be able to scrutinize the part itself before you receive it. Assure yourself that the product IDs match and that you’re getting the right part of your vehicle.

  • Replace the belt as a comprehensive update: Replacing the serpentine/drive belt? Time to replace all the gaskets and gasket adhesives as well. When you do all of the replacements at once, it’s easier to keep up with when the replacements were done. This helps you know when you need to check it again, and when to just start replacing pieces knowing that they will go bad “soon”.

  • Get the right size: If your old serpentine belt no longer has a part number on it and you can’t find a manual for your vehicle, slip off the old belt and use a string to measure its length. Then order one size smaller than the string, to make up for the stretching of your current belt that has occurred over the years.

YourMechanic supplies top-quality serpentine/drive belts to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a serpentine/drive belt that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on serpentine/drive belt replacement.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Serpentine/Drive Belt and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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